He called me “Too Fat” and said I didn't care about myself
By: Bruce in Chicago
I’m 35-years old, 5’10 and 200 lbs. Not exactly a cow but certainly not obese. That didn’t stop some muscle jock at my gym from fat shaming me after trying to get to know him.
I know that we gays put a premium on personal appearance – I wasn’t born yesterday. I’ve always had a weight problem – it runs in my family. My dad is a little heavy and so is my mom.
Part of the reason I joined the gym was to get myself into better shape and to socialize a bit. It’s the same reason lots of gay men join sports teams to be honest.
I suppose if I had to describe myself, I look at little bit like a younger, “Cub” version of Jack Black. Would you call him “fat”? Probably not.
So anyway, I joined my gym around six months ago. It’s one of those chain gyms that are common in Chicago. It’s also happens to be popular among gay men.
There’s this one guy who works out there that I am the first to admit I found attractive. He’s probably in his mid-thirties like me and bears a striking resemblance to an older version of Taylor Lautner.
One day I got the balls to say hello to him in the locker room. He was changing into his gym attire two lockers down and I figured why not. “How goes it man?” I said to him in an effort to make small talk.
We chatted for a few minutes and I found out that we had some things in common. He was originally from Michigan just like me and we both were fans of the Chicago Cubs. In fact, we even liked the same players, including third basemen, Kris Bryant.
So as time went on, we would bump into each other during workouts. He’s one of those guys that people just stare at and watch when he walks by – he’s got that whole sexy thing going on. I’m talking about everything from crystal blue eyes to a super cool looking tatted arm sleeve.
So this fall, when the cubs were on a winning streak, I decided to ask him if he wanted to catch a game. I happened to be tunneled into a ticket source that was reliable.
When I asked him if he wanted to go, he said “sure” but put out a caveat that he needed to check his schedule. I was kind of stoked because it would be the first time we would be able to hang out, away from the gym.
We exchanged contact information and went back to our workouts. The next morning, I found the following sitting in my email inbox:
“I didn’t have the guts to tell you this at the gym but I won’t be going with you to see the Cubs. It’s not because I have a boyfriend or anything like that. It’s because I have a hard time respecting you.
There’s really no kind way to say this so I’ll just come right out with it. You’re too fat for me. I’m not trying to judge you or anything, really. It’s just that I take care of my body and spend a lot of time focusing on my health. Just looking at you, I can tell it's not a priority. Yeah, you show up at the gym but I’ve watched you. All you do is cruise other guys.
The worst part is that the men you check out are way out of your league. Look at your body and look at mine. BIG difference. Instead of bothering people who are trying to stay fit, you should spend more time losing the fat.”
At first I thought what I was reading was a joke. Did he really send me such a cruel and ugly email? I tried to compose myself but then broke out into tears.
All my life I have struggled with extra weight. When I was in grade school, kids used to bully me with the name “Orca” – you know, from the movie Orca the Killer Whale.
Back then, I was really overweight. By the time I hit high school, I was obese. I thought about suicide more than once but didn’t have the guts to go through with it.
When I came out to my family during college, everyone was supportive. It was during this time of my life that I discovered how important “looks” were in the gay world. If you are an overweight gay guy, you know exactly what I mean.
Let’s face it – we’re usually not on anyone’s “A” list. In fact, if I am brutally honest with myself, I’ve probably acted as someone’s gay “Duff” more than once.
I’ve always used food as a source for comfort. My therapist tells me that I learned to do this early in life and that eating was a way that I could fill an empty hole.
It took me several years of intense focus on diet and physical activity to shed over 100 pounds. I’ve come a long way since then and I still have a ways to go. I only need to lose 50 lbs to hit my goal number.
Back to the jock who sent me that asinine note. I ended up responding to him with the following email. I did it not just for me but for all of the gay men who are overweight and have been rejected, humiliated and “othered” by attractive jock types.
“Got your email. I don’t know what to say. What must it be like to have such a narcissistic, self-centered viewpoint? While people may think you are physically attractive, do they know how ugly your heart is? I encourage you to get some help.
Karma is a very real thing. Never forget that. I won’t waste time with name calling – frankly, you aren’t worth it. When you see me at the gym, pretend that I am a ghost. Just as you don’t want to be seen with someone who is “fat”, I don’t want to be around someone who is toxic.”
We gays are a funny breed, aren’t we? We’re the first to come to the defense of others who are being oppressed yet can be so vial towards one another. No wonder so many of us are single.
If you are overweight, even just a little bit, you are treated like a leper in our community.